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Salmonella from sewage spill may have killed rare shorebirds

November 13, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Salmonella from sewage spills in waters near St. Petersburg may be behind the deaths of dozens of imperiled seabirds.

The Tampa Bay Times reports (http://bit.ly/2g3EprP ) that 48 fledgling black skimmers were found dead in September after two Pinellas County cities dumped sewage into Boca Ciega Bay.

Professor Elizabeth Forys of Eckerd College, who is studying the birds, confirmed that at least one died of salmonella.

Forys says water tests found bacteria levels 100 to 1,000 times above normal, and that she also found an unusual type of bacteria in the samples. That bacteria, Escherichia fergusonii, is largely antibiotic resistant and can be harmful to mammals, including humans.

Heavy rains were cited as the reason the cities of St. Petersburg and Gulfport dumped millions of gallons of sewage into the bay.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

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